Maud O'Connor '21 Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in Kochi City, JET Programme

Maud O'Connor at the Beach
Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku
From Pasadena, California, USA
B.A. in Group Language with Japanese and Chinese, and a minor in East Asian Studies

Maud O’Connor is participating in the JET Programme as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in Kochi City.

As a CIR, she helps interpret and translate for Kochi City officials. Part of her job is helping introduce an international perspective to elementary school students. Kochi is one of the most rural areas in Japan, so the students are not regularly exposed to people of different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities. She also manages Kochi City’s sister city relationship with Fresno, California. 

Born in Pasadena, California, Maud O’Connor developed an interest in Japanese entertainment and pop culture, such as anime and manga. In middle school, she found that some of the comics she wanted to read were not available in English, so she endeavored to learn Japanese.

She chose to attend Oxy because of its reputably strong East Asian Studies and Japanese programs. At Oxy, she took Japanese classes as part of her Group Language major requirements, and also studied abroad in Tokyo at Sophia University for a semester. O’Connor also created and lead the Japanese Popular Culture Research Society (JPCRS). The club was a space to discuss Japanese pop culture, watch anime shows together, and create anime-inspired art.

Professor Motoko Ezaki, the head of the Japanese studies department, encouraged her to apply to the JET Programme. O’Connor believes that her time abroad and language studies prepared her for being abroad for an extended period of time.